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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 24, 2015 - Four Nittany Lions have earned Penn State Student Achievement Awards, as Matt Brown (wrestling) and Nia Grant (women's volleyball) were honored as Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award winners, while Tatum Coffey (women's lacrosse) and David Gomez-Tanamachi (fencing) were presented with the John W. Oswald Award. Additionally, former Penn State fencer Heather Nelson (fencing) earned The Graduate Student Service Award.
They were among a group of 27 honorees who were recognized at a special ceremony Sunday, March 22 at Eisenhower Auditorium on the University Park campus.
The McCoy Award is presented annually to one senior female and one senior male student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence. The award is named for Ernie McCoy, the long-time dean of Penn State's College of Physical Education, who also served as the University's athletic director.
Brown, who is a native of West Valley City, Utah, capped off a stellar career with the Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team by claiming the 2015 NCAA 174 pound National Championship with a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh's Tyler Wilps. During his run to the NCAA title, Brown became Penn State's 24th three-time All-American. Brown went 5-0 at nationals and ends his year with a 29-3 record. Brown was the national runner-up in 2013 and the fifth place finisher in 2014, helping Penn State win its third and fourth consecutive NCAA crowns. In 2013, as a sophomore and a national runner-up, Brown was named the Elite 89 Award winner as the nation's top wrestling scholar athlete. Brown ends his Penn State career with a 118-16 career record.
He leaves Penn State alone in 11th place on the school's all-time wins list. His other academic laurels, in addition to his Elite 89 honor from 2013, are impressive as well. He is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree; is a two-time first team national All-Academic winner from the National Wrestling Coaches Association; and was a first team At-Large CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2013. This year's round of awards has yet to be announced.
Grant, who is majoring in communications, completed her career at Penn State this past fall, having helped the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team to back-to-back NCAA national championship titles in 2013-14. She also highlighted the season with her second career AVCA honor, having garnered honorable mention distinction in 2013. Grant earned her first career Big Ten postseason accolade in 2014 with a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team, while also picking up her second consecutive AVCA All-Northeast Region honor. Having led the conference and the nation in hitting percentage for most of the season, her team-high .431 hitting efficiency concluded the year ranked first in the conference and fourth nationally. Off the court, the two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection also earned 2013-14 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Athlete honors last season.
Senior midfielder Tatum Coffey is a 2014 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, 2013 CoSIDA Academic All-American and a 2012 IWLCA All-America Third Team honoree. A Toms River, N.J. native, Coffey has excelled on the field ever since her debut in 2012, scoring 101 goals and dishing 34 assists for 135 total points. From 2012 to 2014, Coffey was the youngest member of the U.S. Senior Women's National Team.
Gomez-Tanamachi, a native of Mexico City, Mexcio, most recently finished 13th at the 2015 NCAA Fencing Championships in the men's foil event last weekend. During his Penn State fencing career, he went 34-13 in 2011-12, 34-15 in 2012-13, and 22-7 in 2013-14. Prior to his collegiate career, he fenced under head coach Teresa Raygoza at the national level in Mexico.
Gomez- Tanamachi was also a member of the Mexican Olympic squad from 2005-08, where he earned individual gold medals each year with the exception of 2005, when the team captured gold.
Coffey and Gomez-Tanamachi are two of five Penn State students in their respective areas of leadership to be honored with the 2015 John W. Oswald Award.
The John W. Oswald Award, established in 1983, annually recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University. The award consists of a medallion honoring John W. Oswald, president of the University from 1970 to 1983.
Nelson, who completed her eligibility with the 2014 NCAA Champion fencing team last year, is one of two Penn State graduate students to earn the 2015 Graduate Student Service Award. The honor recognizes graduate students who have best combined high academic achievement with leadership in University or other public activities.